Hi, I'm Jen Landis and this is the GIRLBRAVE Podcast. In this episode, I'm talking with Mia. Mia is a ballet dancer and practices for dancing 30 hours a week. Find out how mia handles stress and what her advice is for other girls who might also be feeling pressure. So let's get to it.
Hi, Mia. How are you today?
I'm doing great. How are you?
I'm good. Thank you for asking. How old are you and what grade are you in?
I'm 13 years old and I am in eighth grade.
How do you like eighth grade? So far, it's almost half done.
Yeah, um, it's really different experience than, um, elementary school. But there are lots of kids that are really, really nice and actually really positive.
What things do you do outside of school?
I do a lot of ballet. I recently got Clara in The Nutcracker, which has been a dream of mine for a while, and I'm really excited about it.
Congratulations. How long have you been wishing to be Clara?
Since I was little. Because I've watched a lot of movies of Clara and the Nutcracker was one of the first ballets I've ever seen, and it was amazing. And I really wanted to accomplish that.
Does it feel like you imagined it would?
Yeah, and more. It's really amazing. And I love the choreography and all of the acting. It's really amazing.
How often do you guys rehearsing?
My sister and I practiced about six days a week.
Six days a week. Oh, my gosh. And then do you do other dance besides that?
Yes, I do. Competition training. I do just regular training. So my technique is well.
So how many hours a week do you think that you spend dancing?
Um, about 30 hours a week.
...and then school on top of that homework and friends?
Do you run into any struggles trying to balance it all?
Yes. Sometimes I end dance a little late, and so I don't really have much time to do homework or sometimes their performances where I have to skip school. And then later on, I have to catch up on the school work, which is kind of difficult that I end up finishing everything anyway.
How do you have so much motivation and determination?
Like, I always remind myself that everything's just gonna be okay in the end and that I don't need to put so much stress on everything, because putting so much stress on everything is just a waste of energy.
Yeah, it is. Do you do anything when you're stressed to talk yourself out of it or do any activities that help you release that stress?
Yes, I actually I've noticed that writing my schedule down and writing things that I need to do down It helps me because then that way more organized. And I know what I have to do and accomplish for the day. And I also meditate sometimes because sometimes it's just really, really hard to be stress. But when you meditate, it's actually much more like I don't have to worry about stuff so much.
Wow, that's awesome! How do you meditate? Like if someone doesn't know how to do it, how would you suggest they start?
I used this app called Headspace. Ah, and it just It's like a guided meditation, So I I listen to whatever exercise they have or I just go outside and I closed my eyes and I just like meditate.
I love it. I've done a lot of meditation in my life, as well, and it's once you get into it. It does make you feel a lot better and a lot calmer. That's one of my things to just keep on making sure I keep on doing it, cause it definitely still helps.
It's really helpful once you get to start doing it more and more often because I've noticed a big difference when I'm stressed. And when I meditate in, I'm not stressed like I have less stuff on my mind that I need to worry about.
Well, that's great. That's great. So what are you looking forward to accomplishing in the future now that you've got Clara as a goal taken care of?
In a little bit... in February, I have this competition called YAGP, which I've been working really hard to prepare for, and I'm hoping that I can place in top 12 or even or anything, really, I just I'm mostly excited about the experience, and even if I don't place, that's okay, because I've had so much fun throughout the rehearsal process and everything. So, yeah.
Do you dance by yourself? Solo? Are you dancing with the other group of girls?
I am doing to solos. And then I am dancing with a group of girls, actually. Sorry. Three solos, which is to classical and contemporary. And then I'm dancing. Which other girls as well.
When you're learning a new dance, how quickly do you pick it up?
Um, it's quicker to pick it up because I can sometimes look videos up on YouTube and watch those, um, because they're so many. There's so many other ballerina to perform variations. But contemporary, it's much harder for me to pick up because, um, first of all, I'm not very not trained in contemporary. I mostly just take ballet classes,
And I can't I can't really look anything up on YouTube because somebody choreographed it for me, so...
Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. So when you're done learning a dance, are you done with your performance in February, how do you think you'll feel? Will you be excited to relax or ready for the next thing after that?
I will be a little...it's gonna be bittersweet for me because I just love the process of learning variations. But yes, I will have more time to relax and more time to myself.
Do you have other goals? Outside of dance? Or is it mostly dance goals?
I'm very tough on myself when it comes to school, because I expect to get really good grades, and I really hope that I can. So if I just work hard and motivate myself, I'm sure I can get good grades.
Yeah, definitely. What's your favorite subject?
My favorite subject is math.
Awesome. What do you think you're going to do with it? Do you want to go in to engineering or science or coding?
No. I want to become a professional ballerina when I'm older.
Yeah. Yeah. Well, you're definitely on the right track. I think for that. I've seen you dancing. They're very, very, very talented. What books are you reading?
I actually am reading The Hobbit right now.
Is it good?
It's so good so far. I love it.
Oh, that's great. What has been your favorite book that you read so far?
Anything by Agatha Christie is probably I'm the best book I've ever read.
Do you have a favorite one of hers?
And Then There Were None was really good.
So what would you say your definition of being brave is?
You need to step out of your comfort zone. I know it's not gonna seem nice at first, but once you do what you are, open to a lot of more things and you're open minded about many different situations, too, which is something I found.
Do you feel like you are brave?
Um, sometimes, I need to work on being braver, though.
Yeah, it's a tricky one. I think we can work on it if it's holding us back. But I definitely think that we put a lot of pressure on ourselves, and it's okay to be where we are and learn what we need to learn right now before we push ourselves forward.
So if someone was listening to this today, some girl out there your age, and you just gave her a piece of advice that she needed to hear this exact moment. What advice would you give a girl going through something similar, perhaps like another dancer trying to get a role that that they really wanted? What advice would you give her?
Just breathe. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself because it's really not worth it, and it doesn't really help you at all. Just keep motivating yourself in whatever way you can and just read.
Love that advice. Very great. Well, Mia, this has been so great. I really appreciate you being on the show today. And good luck with Clara and your competition's next year.
Thank you so much for the opportunity. I'm so grateful for it.
Thanks so much. We'll talk to you later.
Thank you very much. Bye.
What does it mean to be brave? Sometimes brave means scared or anxious, but trying anyway. GIRLBRAVE is a celebration of girls who are brave, taking up space in the world and claiming it. Thanks for listening and join us next time on GIRLBRAVE Podcast.